Former New York Mayor Bloomberg: Smoking ban improves restaurant business and tourism
LONDON, March 17 – Michael R. Bloomberg recounted how a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants that he had implemented as mayor of New York City actually boosted business and tourism.
Bloomberg, who was elected the 108th mayor of New York City in the United States for three terms from 2002 to 2013, noted that many of the policies that generated the most opposition often turned out to be the most effective and popular, citing the smoking ban he did. approved in 2002 as an example.
“When we first proposed banning smoking in bars and restaurants, many people predicted disaster. They said people would stop going out to eat and drink and tourists would stop coming to New York and businesses would go out of business,” Bloomberg said in welcoming remarks to the plenary at the inaugural Association for Cities Summit Sanes (PHC) in London, United States. Kingdom, Wednesday.
“But the naysayers couldn’t have been more wrong. The number of bars and restaurants increased; tourism reached all-time highs and politics became phenomenally popular. No one was ever coming back, and that was true even for the owners of restaurants and bars that fought tooth and nail.
“As soon as they saw what happened: people finished their lunch and left so they could go around the table, and they never made money from smoking, and they were always worried about being sued by an environment unhealthy for their employees, that was. far. So it was a win-win-win for everyone.”
Bloomberg also recalled a conversation he had with then-New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman when he initiated the smoking ban, who thanked Bloomberg and said, “‘It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to Nova Jersey. Everyone will cross the Hudson River and eat in New Jersey.”
About three months later, Whitman told Bloomberg that she, too, introduced a bill to ban smoking in New Jersey, which neighbors New York City.
“I said, ‘Well, Christine, that’s great. Why did you do this? She said, ‘because my son has to spend a night in New Jersey since you put the ban in place,'” Bloomberg recalled, prompting laughter from the audience.
“Clean air is something that really matters, whether you’re working on the street or sitting in a restaurant or pub, what goes into our bodies really makes a difference.
“I’m happy to say that more cities and countries have begun to pass smoking bans and smoke-free laws after we passed them in New York. And our foundation has been working to help these measures spread around the world, even all through this partnership, just as our success in New York gave other cities the data to act on,” Bloomberg added.
Bloomberg is a founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, one of the hosts of the PHC Summit which was jointly organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the global public health organization Vital Strategies with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
Five cities recognized for success in preventing NCDs and injuries
The PHC Summit, which brought together mayors and officials from more than 50 major cities in the partnership, recognized five global cities for their achievements in preventing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries.
The five cities, which received a 2023 Partnership for Healthy Cities award and US$150,000 each to continue working with the partnership, are:
- Athens, Greece to increase access to the opioid overdose reversal agent, naloxone, in community organizations and among health professionals. The city also began investigating causes of death among people who inject drugs to better understand the impact of the overdose crisis;
- Bangalore, India for its efforts in tobacco control, specifically by reducing smoking in public places and improving compliance with existing mandates on public smoking bans;
- Mexico City, Mexico to improve road safety and safe and active mobility by implementing a cycle lane on a busy road which led to a 275% increase in cyclists; implement a shared lane for cyclists and buses separated from cars; establish loading and unloading areas; and optimize the design and management of roads close to schools;
- Montevideo, Uruguay to establish nutritional standards for the preparation and sale of food in the offices of government agencies and some public universities, to focus on sodium reduction policies, and to develop media campaigns and educational materials; i
- Vancouver, Canada to make public health data more inclusive and accessible by launching an online public health data tool that tracks population health indicators and working with urban Indigenous communities to better inform management of data
“I am delighted to join mayors from around the world today to address some of the most important issues facing our cities. The health of our citizens is a city’s greatest asset, so I’m taking bold steps to invest in the health of Londoners, including restricting junk food advertising on the Transport for London network and expanding the ultra low zone emissions, which will mean five million more Londoners will be able to breathe cleaner air,” Mayor of London Sadiq told the summit.
“These initiatives not only improve the health of Londoners, they ease the pressure on our health service and ensure that future generations can thrive. Improving the health of Londoners will always be at the heart of my vision to build a safer and prosperous for all.”
Vital Strategies President and CEO José Luis Castro described cities as “places where health can be produced or compromised.”
“We applaud the work of urban leaders around the world in their efforts to create healthier, stronger and more equitable cities. We look forward to continuing our work supporting cities with the tools and resources needed to lead to deliver proven solutions that prevent non-communicable diseases and injuries.”
Gain buy-in for tobacco control measures through public education campaigns
Dr. Kelly Henning, who directs Bloomberg Philanthropies’ public health program, emphasized that tobacco control required a multi-pronged approach involving both federal and local governments.
The epidemiologist trained in internal medicine, infectious disease and public health said raising the price of tobacco, under the jurisdiction of the federal government, was “the most powerful thing we can do to reduce tobacco use.”
Second, Dr. Henning promoted health warning labels on cigarette packages.
He also cited a ban on tobacco advertising and the creation of smoke-free public places that could be implemented by local governments. In Malaysia, these are still under federal jurisdiction.
“With all these policies, you really have to engage the public through public education campaigns. You want that buy-in. If you can get these laws enforced effectively, the public supports them. Most people don’t smoke, and they don’t want people to smoke for them,” Dr. Henning said in an interview with a media group on the sidelines of the PHC summit.
“So you can really get a lot of public buy-in. But you have to take all these things into account as you work on tobacco control.”
CodeBlue noted that all these measures have been implemented in Malaysia, but the decline in smoking prevalence has still been slow over the years, reaching 21.3 percent of the national smoking prevalence in 2019 among Malaysians of 15 years or more.
By sex, four out of 10 men in Malaysia currently smoke.
when CodeBlue Asked by Dr Henning whether public education campaigns should paint smokers as criminals, the public health expert disagreed: “No, we never do.”
“Smokers are addicted to nicotine. Most smokers want to quit. So you have to take all these things into account. The public is often very convinced when they see the impact, the medical impact of smoking,” he said. to say.
“A lot of countries have put out ads, for example, that show people with nasopharyngeal cancer having to have a tracheotomy, or people who have had other impacts, medical impacts from smoking, can have a big impact.
“It really depends on the context of the specific country, but any kind of ads that are run need to be tested to make sure they are well understood and impactful among the population.
“But tobacco control is very important because tobacco is still the leading cause of death in the world: it affects cardiovascular deaths, it affects cancer deaths and the numbers are very, very large, seven to eight million deaths a year “year, one billion deaths. this century if we don’t have progress. So it’s very important to work on it”.
Malaysia’s unity government is currently working to reintroduce the Tobacco Products and Smoking Control Bill 2022 to Parliament which, among other things, seeks to ban cigarettes and tobacco and vape products by to the next generation born after 2007, colloquially known as generational. end game (GEG). Health Minister Dr. Zaliha Mustafa held briefings on the bill in Parliament last Tuesday for government and opposition MPs separately.